To determine how long ticks can live without a host we fist need to understand what ticks are and what they need to survive. Once we know our enemy then we’ll know their weakness’ and how long ticks can live without a host.
Ticks are considered arthropods with one primary body segment. This puts them in the same category as daddy long legs and scorpions. Interestingly , ticks don’t hibernate and are active all year when its above freezing. To locate a host ticks climb grass and other plants to wait for an animal or person to pass by. This is behavior is known as questing.
Ticks need high humidity which keeps them near the ground and away from dry, sunny areas. Ticks seek out shady wooded areas and high weeds to avoid the sun. This means ticks need shelter. Keeping a clean yard and house will deprive them of shelter, exposing them to the sun and eventually killing them. So simply keeping your house and yard neat and tidy will help reduce the amount of and life span of ticks.
Researchers from Ohio State University determined that simply vacuuming can kill 96% of adult fleas and 100% of young fleas. The lead researcher discovered the combination of vacuum fans, brushes, and internal air currents combine to kill the fleas. He theorized the vacuuming process damaged the fleas waxy outer layer which keeps them hydrated. Researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences also endorse the advice on flea and tick control through vacuuming. They believe the vacuum is a home owners secret weapon for controlling the brown dog tick.
The answer depends on condition of the tick and its environment. The generally agreed upon life span of ticks is two years. If the tick just dropped off a host and is in a humid environment it can actually complete its life cycle without a host. However this is in perfect conditions.